Landscape Design students win Silver Gilt medal at Flower Show (August 2009)

Bridgwater College Foundation Degree in Landscape Design students were proud winners of the Silver Gilt medal in the ‘Designer Garden' category at this year's Taunton Flower Show. The show garden, titled ‘Somer Breeze', was a re-creation of a much larger show garden that won a Bronze medal at the Gardeners' World Live exhibition at the NEC in June this year. The garden depicted a West Somerset coastal garden - using traditional materials that were either from or linked to the region - with a few modern twists.

‘Somer Breeze' needed to be almost half the size of the Gardeners' World show garden, and as such was much more difficult to design. Students and staff did preparation work at the College's Cannington Centre, before building the garden for real at Vivary Park, for the Flower Show. There were a few late nights, but the garden was ready in time for judging on Friday 7 August.

The judges, Vic Verrier and Katherine Crouch, were very impressed with the garden saying: "The students should be commended for the quality of the landscaping." They went on to say how it was a tight competition, and there were very few faults that stood in the way of the College's garden achieving their ultimate goal of a Gold medal.

Bridgwater College Programme Manager for Landscape Design, Iain Truman said: "This is a massive achievement. We had the chance to correct some of the issues raised by the judges at the Gardeners' World Live competition, to produce a better quality finish - and it paid off. We have had a lot of help from staff and students from both landscape design and horticulture courses, and they should all be very proud of this achievement."

‘Somer Breeze' provides a functional example of a low maintenance small garden that can be built on a reasonable budget. It provides practical access to a cabin and deck and a secluded place to sit and read a book. There is also a bench and table on which to dine or just enjoy a glass of Somerset cider as you watch the setting sun dissolve into the sea.

Two of the Foundation Degree students, Tim Mugford and Lorraine Richards, who are both progressing on to the College's BSc Landscape Design (Top-Up) course this year, also took part in the show's ‘Ready, Steady Garden!' competition - in which two pairs of designers compete to produce a small garden in only two hours. The teams had to toss a coin to determine which collection of plants they would be given to create their garden, to add to their prepared element of hard landscaping. Despite being runners-up, they produced a very good garden exhibit based upon three decking squares. Tim said: "It was a good experience and it has really boosted my confidence."